This Car Is the Most Affordable Compact SUV of 2021

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The 2021 Subaru Forester won Kelley Blue Book’s (KBB) 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Compact SUV category. To many, a KBB award is only an emblem pasted on advertisements, but if you’re shopping for a new car, the 5-year Cost to Own Award is exactly the type of recognition you should be looking for.
Vehicles with low ownership costs might cost a little more up front, but in the long run, they help you save on everything from fuel and repairs to your car insurance.
What does the award mean and what goes into fully calculating car costs? We’ve explained it all below.

What’s included in a five-year cost?

A five-year cost to own a new vehicle is the car’s “real” cost. It includes things like resale value, repair, maintenance, and insurance costs. As the owner of a new car, it’s easy to focus on the number on the price tag or the monthly payment plan, but these factors only account for a fraction of what you will inevitably pay for whatever make or model you buy.
KBB makes it easier for you to make an informed choice with its 5-year Cost to Own Award. They calculate all the costs of owning a vehicle and then award one model from each category for maintaining the best value.

How does depreciation affect car costs?

One of the key influences on the cost of your vehicle that often goes unnoticed is its depreciation, or how much the value of your car goes down over time.
You might not be thinking about what it’ll be like to sell your brand new car in five years, but its resale value has a massive impact on its overall cost. The amount you’re expected to get back radically changes from model to model.
The expected depreciation of your new vehicle’s value is also a good indicator of its reliability. Generally speaking, the more repairs your vehicle will need, the less people will be willing to pay for it in the future. You want to avoid cars that lose a lot of value in a short time span.

Other factors to consider

Of course, there are other factors that will affect the overall cost of your new car. If you take out a loan, you’ll need to budget for your monthly payments. Your fuel consumption is a regular culprit that any driver is well aware of. But the most complicated component to calculate might be your insurance.
The cost of car insurance varies widely depending on the type of driver you are, the state you live in, and the car you have—not to mention the differences between providers. Saving on insurance is a great way to save on the overall cost of your car, but trying to compare all the available coverages and bundles can feel like falling down a rabbit hole.
Thankfully, Jerry compares prices between up to 45 different companies and shows you the top three options, so you can focus on the rest of your research and find the vehicle that’s right for you.

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